Shootout: 5 Pro Audio Software Products Rated

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Digital Music Doctor announces the release a new analysis which compares five of the most popular Digital Audio Workstation software products from DigiDesign, Steinberg, Cakewalk, Sony, and Ableton. This analysis is an update of a previous study and includes ratings based on the new features in Sonar 7, Cubase 4.1, and Pro Tools 7.4. The analysis measures these products based on two ratings, an overall functional rating and a value ratio. In the functional rating Cubase 4 remains the leader by a small margin over Sonar 7 (Producer Edition). However, in the value ratio Pro Tools 7 (LE/M-Powered) provides the most value for the money, whereas Cubase 4 ranks lowest.

Digital Music Doctor announces the release a new analysis which compares five of the most popular Digital Audio Workstation software products from DigiDesign, Steinberg, Cakewalk, Sony, and Ableton. This analysis is an update of a previous study and includes ratings based on the new features in Sonar 7, Cubase 4.1, and Pro Tools 7.4. The analysis measures these products based on two ratings, an overall functional rating and a value ratio. In the functional rating Cubase 4 remains the leader by a small margin over Sonar 7 (Producer Edition). However, in the value ratio Pro Tools 7 (LE/M-Powered) provides the most value for the money, whereas Cubase 4 ranks lowest.

PRODUCT     (FUNCTIONAL RATING)
1 - Cubase 4 (4.6)
2 - Sonar 7 (4.5)
3 - Acid Pro 6 (3.5)
4 - Pro Tools 7 (3.2)
5 - Live 6 (2.9)

PRODUCT     (VALUE RATIO)
1 - Pro Tools 7 (1.29)
2 - Acid Pro 6 (0.92)
3 - Sonar 7 (0.90)
4 - Live 6 (0.62)
5 - Cubase 4 (0.58)

The functional rating evaluates 130 different factors on a scale of 0-5 (5 being best) which are combined to arrive at an overall rating. The second metric of the analysis is the value ratio which is the ratio of the overall functional rating divided by the representative dealer price. Each main category of the functional rating has several subcategories which provide overall ratings for such functions as mixing, MIDI editors, recording, and track management. The analysis also includes an explanation for each rating as well as a description of what a particular function is and why it is important.

In this update of the study Cubase, Sonar, and Pro Tools earn additional credit in the functional ratings based on a these new features: Cubase added a real-time Arranger Track and a Global Transpose Track as well as Sidechaining. Pro Tools now includes real-time time stretching with its Elastic Audio Feature. Sonar added a Step Sequencer and External FX Integration as well as Sidechaining and CD ripping and burning. The other new features in these products did not have an impact on the ratings.

This analysis is based on the materials used in the video training courses produced by Digital Music Doctor for Digidesign Pro Tools, Cakewalk Sonar, Steinberg Cubase, Sony Acid, and Ableton Live. The complete analysis is available at the Digital Music Doctor web site: http://www.digitalmusicdoctor.com/shootout/shootout_summary.htm

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CLARK MURRAY
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